The financial research firm Teikoku Databank published a report on the anime industry for 2020 on August 2. The report noted that anime industry revenue (based on the revenue from 300 companies) amounted to 251.081 billion yen (about US$2.29 billion), 1.8% lower than 2019’s record high of 255.7 billion yen (about US$2.33 billion). This is the first time the industry has contracted in 10 years, having been in a growth period since 2011.
(Editor’s Note: Teikoku Databank’s 2021 report refers to different numbers for the calendar year 2019 compared to the report the company published in 2020 for the year 2019. ANN reached out to Teikoku Databank about this discrepancy, and the company explained that it adjusted some of the financial results based on a few factors, including: some of the surveyed companies revised or provided more details for their 2019 numbers after initial publication, or Teikoku Databank was able to find previously unknown numbers from 2019 once the 2020 numbers came out.)
Average revenue for a company in 2020 was 831 million yen (about US$7.6 million), the first time the number has decreased from the previous year since 2017.
The report noted the decrease in revenue is in part due to delays in production schedules and effects of the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Increase in costs, including those due to more outsourcing, also affected the profits of many production companies.
Outsourcing and prime contract work amounted to 1.695 billion yen (about US$15.4 million), which is about 20 million yen higher than the previous year. Although this number has increased for the fourth year in a row, the rate of increase is the smallest that it has been in the past four years. The percentage of companies with a sales increase was 31.6%, while the percentage of companies with a sales decrease was 48.2%.
For specialized studios that perform subcontract anime work, average sales in 2020 were 308 million yen (about US$2.81 million), a decrease of about six million yen from the previous year. The report attributes decreased sales to higher outsourcing costs due to shortage of workers as well as the effects of COVID-19. More than 70% of specialized studios were negatively affected, with 48.9% of companies having a sales decrease, the largest rate of companies reporting a sales decrease in 10 years.
Of the 300 animation production companies surveyed, 109 of the companies reported earning less than 100 million yen. Additionally, 73 companies reported less than 300 million yen in revenue, 31 claimed less than 500 million yen, 42 of them reported less than 1 billion yen, and 45 companies earned over 1 billion yen. Of the 300 companies surveyed, 96 reported having five or fewer employees, 94 companies listed less than 20 employees, 60 reported less than 50 employees, 28 had less than 100 employees, and 22 companies had more than 100 employees.
102 companies were established in the 2010s (2010-2019), 88 were established in the 2000s, 41 were created in the 1990s, 28 in the 1980s, 30 in the 1970s, seven in the 1960s, and two each from the 1950s and pre-1950s periods. Of the 300 companies, 270 are located in Tokyo, which is 90% of the total.
68 of the companies made transactions with overseas companies through outsourcing or production contracts in 2020, accounting for over 20% of the total. This number has been increasing along with the growing international popularity of anime. The majority of transactions were made with China (36 companies), but 15 companies reported transactions with South Korea and 14 reported transactions with the United States. The report noted that services outside of Japan such as Netflix, Tencent, and bilibili have been increasing their interest in animation production companies in Japan.
According to the report, China is catching up with Japan in terms of animation production due to its employment of high quality animators and enhanced equipment. The report cautioned that Japan must urgently invest in talent, technology, and improving production ability.